Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls

Yesterday I talked about the significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls for understanding Jesus and the milieu out of which earliest Christianity grew. My basic point is that if Jesus was a Jew, then to understand him, you have to understand Jews in his world. And the Dead Sea Scrolls provide us valuable information to that end.

I am not saying that the Dead Sea Scrolls are representative of what all or even most Jews thought at the time. They clearly ...

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The Dead Sea Scrolls and Christianity

As we used to say back when I was a committed Christian, with respect to prayer: Be careful what you ask for! So I asked for questions that you would like me to address, and I have been receiving them in droves. Some of them I will be able to answer very quickly as a response to the comment itself, some I will handle in a post – or more, depending on how complicated the matter is. (If I intend ...

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Qumran and Masada

As I anticipated, my last day in Israel was the real climax.   We did three things of note (and several other things not of note):  the ruins of Qumran, Masada, and the Dead Sea itself.

I was disappointed with how our tour dealt with Qumran.  At the visitors’ center they now have a rather ridiculous little film to introduce the site, but it consists almost entirely of a dramatization, in which an imaginary member of the Essene community describes his experience ...

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Humans Who Become Angels

Here is the final bit on angels in the Jewish tradition, from chapter 2 of How Jesus Became God. Again, this is only in draft form, and it is nowhere near a complete treatment. There are entire books written on angels from a scholarly perspective – and a couple of very significant books on Christ as an angel or angel-like being. Here I have been able only to scratch the surface. But on the upside, if you scratch a surface ...

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More on Divine and Human Angels

In chapter two of How Jesus Became God, I have some more things to say about angels who are sometimes called “God” and sometimes appear as humans (in addition to what I’ve already said about the  “Angel of the Lord”).   This is only a draft, but it should give an idea of what I have in mind.

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Other Angels as God and Human

There are numerous other examples both in the Bible and in other Jewish texts ...

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Why The Gospels Are Anonymous

Among the interesting questions I’ve received recently is the following.   It’s on something other than How Jesus Became God!  Rather than type out a completely new answer, I’ve resorted to the discussion I set out in my book Forged, cited here, as relevant, in full.

QUESTION:

I still can’t quite grasp why the Gospels were written anonymously. What is the prevailing theory? Why did the authors not attempt to pass themselves off as disciples by stating ...

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Divine Wisdom

Another passage from my chapter 2, on divine beings in Judaism

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If you read enough scholarly literature, you will quickly see that scholars tend to use some technical terms for no good reason, other than the fact that they are the technical terms scholars use. This is true even when scholar could talk in language that normal human beings normally use. When I was in graduate school we used to ask, wryly, why we should use a perfectly good ...

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The Son of Man as Divine

Another bit from my ch. 2 of How Jesus Became God.  It’s just a draft.  I’m interested in feedback if you think there are problems or ambiguities in what I say.  It’s a very brief treatment, I know….

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There are other figures – apart from God himself – who are sometimes described as divine in ancient Jewish sources, both in the Bible and in later writings from near the time of Jesus and his followers.   The first is modeled  on ...

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John’s Logos and Jewish Wisdom

In yesterday’s post I began to discuss the Prologue of the Gospel of John, which contains a poem that celebrates Christ as the Word of God that became human. This Word of God was with God in the beginning of all things, and was himself God; through him the universe was created and in him is life. This word took on flesh to dwell with humans, and that human – the divine word made flesh – was Jesus.

Some readers ...

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Dead Sea Scrolls Scandal

A few years ago I was asked to give a speech at a museum in Raleigh NC in connection with an exhibit of the Dead Sea Scrolls that had been long in the works and had finally become a reality. I will be the first to admit, I’m not the first person you should think of to give a lecture on the Dead Sea Scrolls. It’s not my field of scholarship. But the lecture was to be one of a ...

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